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New watchOS 5 update adds a flurry of new features

Lets you use it like a walkie-talkie

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Every day, we grow closer and closer to the stories that we saw in movies. Do you remember those old spy films where agents would take to each other through their wrists? Apple is turning that into a reality soon.

Of course, smartwatches have existed for years already. Apple’s own version even tops the food chain right now. However, a new upgrade — watchOS 5 — adds in a flurry of features that hopes to drastically change how you interact with your Apple Watch.

Most notably, the watchOS 5 update adds in a Walkie-Talkie mode. Over Wi-Fi or data, users can talk to fellow Apple Watch users by talking through their wrists. The feature harkens back to the convenience and novelty of its namesake.

Similarly, the update seamlessly improves how you interact with Siri. Instead of shouting “Hey, Siri,” users can just lift their wrist to activate Apple’s voice assistant.

Additionally, the new OS improves the Watch’s capabilities when it comes to working out. It can now track your activities automatically when it senses that you might be working out. It also has additional workout modes like yoga and hiking.

Furthermore, it adds in a layer of collaboration and competition to fitness. Users can challenge their friends to fitness contests throughout several days in length.

If that’s not enough, Apple has also announced that the Watch can now view some webpages through its diminutive screen.

As for new Watches themselves, Apple did not release any new hardware. However, they did launch a new band and watch face to commemorate Pride Day.

SEE ALSO: Apple focuses on speed and functionality rather than big features on iOS 12

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You might need to pay Google for Android soon

Because of EU’s US$ 5 billion fine

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Will we soon have to pay to use Android? According to Google, that dystopic possibility might eventually become our reality.

Recently, the Silicon Valley giant butted heads with the European Commission over an anti-competition rap. According to the commission, Google is purposely preventing competitors from getting a leg up, creating a dangerous oligopoly on the mobile OS market.

Google currently requires phone makers to bundle eleven apps with their phones, if they want to use Android. The most concerning ones are Google’s Search and Chrome. The company draws much of its profits from their mobile ad revenue.

After weeks of deliberation, the EU has hammered down a guilty verdict on the accused. As a result, Google will pay a whopping US$ 5 billion in fines. On its own, the fine is just spare change for the multi-billion-dollar company.

However, the sanction also requires Google to unbundle the concerned apps from Android. Also, the EU requires Google to hand over an open-source version of their software to phone makers. As a result, Google’s entire revenue stream threatens to collapse. This also enables competitors to create their own versions of Android.

In response to this, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a statement on the company’s blog. Despite using a warm, imploratory tone, Pichai’s statement underscores a threat directed towards Google’s consumers and partners.

According to the post, Android’s ubiquity speaks for itself. Android powers 1,300 brands, 24,000 devices, and more than 1 million apps. Seemingly, the EU sanctions will undercut the millions of consumers that enjoy Android on a free basis.

Pichai concludes by introducing the possibility that Android might become a pay-to-play system.

“If phone makers… couldn’t include our apps… it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model,” says Pichai.

If Google is issuing a threat, phone makers will initially feel the brunt of renewed pricing schemes. However, consumers will ultimately shoulder the responsibility of paying for their own mobile operating systems.

SEE ALSO: Android Oreo now on more devices but Nougat remains the most popular

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Nokia 6.1 Plus unveiled as the international version of the Nokia X6

The first notched phone of Nokia goes global

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Nokia has started to roll out their new smartphones to the global market. After its initial launch, the Nokia X6 is now available outside of China. Under the name Nokia 6.1 Plus, the brand’s first notched phone is now on its way to Hong Kong.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus boasts the exact same specifications as the Nokia X6’s. The phone is still powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. Unlike the Nokia X6 though, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is only available in one memory/storage configuration.

Nokia 6.1 Plus in white and blue

The display of the phone measures 5.8 inches and has a Full HD+ resolution with a 19:9 aspect ratio. As you can see, the phone has a notch which could be a deal breaker for some, but it’s actually pretty popular among phone manufacturers.

A respectable 3060mAh battery is sealed inside the glass and metal body of the device. The battery also supports Quick Charge 3.0 through the reversible USB-C port.

What makes the 6.1 Plus different from the X6 is its Android One software. This means the phone will receive timely updates with no bloatware, just like the rest of the Android-powered Nokia phones currently in the market. Out of the box, the phone will have Android 8.1 Oreo.

In Hong Kong, the phone will be available starting July 24 for HK$ 2,288 or roughly US$ 290.

SEE ALSO: Nokia X5 (Nokia 5.1 Plus) is a more affordable X6, retains notch

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Samsung is finally updating the Galaxy J series to Android Oreo

At least some of them

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Samsung is not known to push out the latest Android version available, but they do make an effort to update their latest devices as much as possible. These past few months, the company has been busy updating their flagship and midrange phones. But what about the cheaper ones?

Today, Samsung passed a total of 11 models from the Galaxy J series through the Wi-Fi Alliance group. All of these phones are currently in the market and are now Wi-Fi certified with the latest Android 8.0 or 8.1 Oreo software.

Unfortunately, not all the Galaxy J phones are on the list but it’s a start. Here are the specific models that’ll soon get the Android Oreo update:

  • Galaxy J3 2017 (SM-J330FN, SM-J330F, SM-J330F/DS)
  • Galaxy J3 Pro (SM-J330G, SM-J330G/DS)
  • Galaxy J7 Neo (SM-J701MT/SS, SM-J701M/DS, SM-J701MT, SM-J701M)
  • Galaxy J7 Nxt / Galaxy J7 Core (SM-J701F, SM-J701F/DS)

Since the update is already been certified by Wi-Fi Alliance, it’ll be out in the coming weeks or maybe months, depending on Samsung’s timetable.

SEE ALSO: Samsung, LG promise to launch better midrange phones this year

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